Creating developmentally appropriate environments and instruction for preschool children: The HighScope Educational Approach for preschoolers

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The HighScope Educational Approach for preschoolers was developed over 40 years ago in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is a comprehensive system that focuses on creating developmentally-appropriate environments and instruction for preschool children, and addresses teaching practices, curriculum, and the learning environment.

The curriculum follows the five dimensions of school readiness, as identified by the US National Education Goals Panel: 1) approaches to learning; 2) language, literacy, and communication; 3) social and emotional development; 4) physical development, health, and well-being; and 5) arts and sciences. Social and emotional learning is integrated not only in the curriculum, but also in the teaching practice, where the focus is on active participatory learning, positive and nurturing teacher-child interactions, a safe and stimulating learning environment, and regular daily routines.

Research has shown the HighScope Educational Approach to have positive effects on children’s academic performance and social behavior, as well as reduced emotional distress. Furthermore, the HighScope Educational Approach is recognized by CASEL as a “SELect” program.